Matthew 15:18
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
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15:10-20 Christ shows that the defilement they ought to fear, was not from what entered their mouths as food, but from what came out of their mouths, which showed the wickedness of their hearts. Nothing will last in the soul but the regenerating graces of the Holy Spirit; and nothing should be admitted into the church but what is from above; therefore, whoever is offended by a plain, seasonable declaration of the truth, we should not be troubled at it. The disciples ask to be better taught as to this matter. Where a weak head doubts concerning any word of Christ, an upright heart and a willing mind seek for instruction. It is the heart that is desperately wicked, Jer 17:9, for there is no sin in word or deed, which was not first in the heart. They all come out of the man, and are fruits of that wickedness which is in the heart, and is wrought there. When Christ teaches, he will show men the deceitfulness and wickedness of their own hearts; he will teach them to humble themselves, and to seek to be cleansed in the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.Christ proceeds to state what does defile the man, or render him a sinner:

1. "Evil thoughts" These are the first things - these are the fountains of all others. Thought precedes action. Thought, or purpose, or motive, gives its character to conduct. All evil thoughts are here intended. Though we labor to suppress them, yet they defile us. They leave pollution behind them.

2. "Murders." Taking the life of others with malice. The malice has its seat in the heart, and the murder therefore proceeds from the heart, 1 John 3:15.

3. "Adulteries, fornication." See Matthew 5:28.

4. "Thefts." Theft is the taking and carrying away the goods of others without their knowledge or consent. Thefts are caused by coveting the property of others. They proceed, therefore, from the heart, and violate at the same time two commandments - the tenth commandment in thought and the eighth commandment in act.

5. "False witness." Giving wrong testimony. Concealing the truth, or stating what we know to be false - a violation of the ninth commandment. It proceeds from a desire to injure others, to take away their character or property, or to do them injustice. It proceeds thus from the heart.

6. "Blasphemies." See the notes at Matthew 9:3. Blasphemy proceeds from opposition to God, hatred of his character Romans 8:7, and from a desire that there should be no God. It proceeds from the heart. See Psalm 14:1. Mark adds several things to those enumerated by Matthew:

(a) "Covetousness." The unlawful desire of what others possess, this always proceeds from the heart.

(b) "Wickedness." The original here means malice, or a desire of injuring others, Romans 1:29.

(c) "Deceit," i. e., fraud, concealment, cheating in trade. This proceeds from a desire to benefit ourselves by doing injustice to others, and this proceeds from the heart.

(d) Lasciviousness. Lust, obscenity, unbridled passion - a strong, evil desire of the heart.

(e) "An evil eye." That is, an eye that is sour, malignant, proud; or an eye of lust and passion. See Matthew 5:28; Matthew 20:15; 2 Peter 2:14, "Having eyes full of adultery, that cannot cease from sin."

(f) "Pride." An improper estimate of our own importance; thinking that we are of much more consequence than we really are. This is always the work of an evil heart.

(g) "Foolishness." Not a lack of intellect - man is not to blame for that - but a moral folly, consisting in choosing evil ends and the bad means of gaining them; or, in other words, sin and wickedness. All sin is folly. It is foolish for a man to disobey God, and foolish for anyone to go to hell.

17, 18. Do not ye yet understand that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth, &c.—Familiar though these sayings have now become, what freedom from bondage to outward things do they proclaim, on the one hand; and on the other, how searching is the truth which they express—that nothing which enters from without can really defile us; and that only the evil that is in the heart, that is allowed to stir there, to rise up in thought and affection, and to flow forth in voluntary action, really defiles a man! See Poole on "Matthew 15:20".

But those things which proceed out of the mouth,.... Meaning not material things, as spittle, vomit, &c. but, as it follows, which

come forth from the heart: are first conceived and formed there, and then come forth from thence, and are expressed by the mouth; as all idle words, foolish talking, filthy jesting, unsavoury communication, and every word that is rotten and corrupt, or which is done in the life and conversation;

and they defile the man: the heart is the corrupt fountain from whence all moral defilement flows; and sinful words and actions are the impure streams, which spring from thence, and increase the moral pollution of human nature.

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
Matthew 15:18. ἐκπορευόμενα: words representing thoughts and desires, morally defiling, or rather revealing defilement already existing in the heart, seat of thought and passion.

Verse 18. - Those things. He does not assert that everything which issues from a man's mouth defiles him; for, as was said above on ver. 11, many good things may come from a man's mouth; but he means that the evil to which he gives utterance is fraught with pollution to his moral nature. From the heart. The heart stands for soul, mind, spirit, will, the whole inner man, that which makes him what he is, a conscious, intelligent, responsible being. Hence are attributed to it not only words, but acts, conceptions which issue in external actions, and the consequences which these involve. Matthew 15:18
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